The development of Islamic political thought in relation to the West during the mid-twentieth century
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This research is about the development of Islamic political thought in relation to the West during the mid-twentieth century. It utilizes the ideas and writings of the Islamic thinkers Sayyid Qutb of Egypt, Ali Shariati of Iran, and Jalal Al-e Ahmad of Iran to illustrate this development. These figures reacted severely to Westernization (argued to constitute colonialism, materialism, and secularism) as they saw it. This research will argue that their reaction was due to the fatally corrosive effects each figure believed this was having upon Islamic civil society and the Islamic moral economy, both in their respective home homelands and throughout the greater global Ummah. Their perspective is unique because they were critiquing the West based upon their experiences while in the West, and using Western intellectual ideas to do so. This was done, this research contends, in reaction to aspects of Edward Said’s Orientalism discourse. Qutb, Shariati, and Al-e Ahmad’s reaction to the West, this research also argues, displays aspects of Friedrich Nietzsche’s thought, namely that when an entity (in this case, Islam) encounters the West, God is lost in that encounter. Additionally, this research argues that Qutb, Shariati, and Al-e Ahmad sought to counter the loss of God in Islamic civil society and halt the influence of Westernization as they saw it via the political realm through the use of the Quran as law and government, thereby permanently restoring God to Islamic civil society and salvaging the Islamic moral economy.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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